Tuesday, January 23, 2007


This Day in the History of Natural Disasters

On this day in 1556, the most deadly earthquake ever kills 830,000 in Shansi (aka Shanxi, Shaanxi) Province, China.


Shaanxi Province and Shanxi Province are two different places.
Shanxi literaly means "west of the mountains" because it is west of the Taihang Mountains while Shaanxi is directly west of Shanxi. Xi'an, the eastern terminus of the Silk Road and the home of the terra cotta soldiers is in Shaanxi.

The two names are actually spelled the same but are pronounced w/ different tones so the Roman spellings are different but not so different as not to confuse anyone who not familiar w/ China's geography.

The epicenter of the 1556 earthquake was in Hua County near Mt. Hua in Shaanxi but neighboring provinces, including Shanxi were severly affected.


Post script:

The Shaanxi Earthquake was supposedly the 4th deadliest natural disaster in history.
1. 1931 Yellow River flood; 2. 1887 Yellow River flood; 3. 1970 Bhola Cyclone, East Pakistan n/k/a Bangladesh.

The 12.26.04 Tsunami is ranked 7. The Bhola Cyclone resulted in the cConcert for Bangladesh in MSC in the summer of 1971. I was there.

China has 3 of the top 4. Interestingly, the 2 floods were on the Yellow River not the Yangtze.

I will determine why that was.


And there was a famine in China in the late 1870 which might have killed 9 million, that's between 2 and 3 million a year. Poor China. Thanks for the info on the identically spelled provinces. I've always thought ancient Greek was tonal but, thank god, no trace of it is left now.
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